The owners of Chapelbank Smokehouse in Ripponden are relishing the latest chapter in their careers after a book about smoking food inspired them to start their own business.
Husband and wife Sean and Angela Cahill, who both live in Ripponden, opened the shop earlier this year and offer a range of smoked cheeses, fish and meat from their premises on Halifax Road.
Sean worked as a chef before becoming an electrical, mechanical and heating engineer.
He was given a book about smoking food from a friend for Christmas and took it up as a hobby before he and Angela, who worked in sales and marketing and was an account director with JLA in Ripponden, were encouraged by friends and family to go into business.
“The book was called DIY Food and was all about curing and smoking foods,” Angela said. “Sean is not an avid book reader at all but this one really piqued his interest and read it cover to cover.
“He started to develop his recipes, mainly salmons, bacons and hams to begin with and it just has grown from there.
“We’ve been smoking commercially for 18 months but only opened the shop in March.
“We did a couple of local markets and kept getting good feedback.
“You’ve got to act with caution and we’ve given ourselves a bit of time to build the business up and see how it goes, but it’s going really well so far.”
So much so that the Guild of Fine Foods awarded two Great Taste Awards to the company for their Traditional Smoked Salmon and the Kiln Roast Smoked Salmon.
“We’re really pleased to have won,” said Angela. “They take up to 15,000 entries and anyone in the industry can enter.
“We thought we would come away with a nice letter and some feedback but it’s great to have won.
“We want to have a brand and take our products out and grow our name in the local area.
“The deli and cafe in the Piece Hall use our products in their sandwiches and salads, and they’ve been very busy, which means we’ve been very busy.”
Angela says her and Sean are hoping to employ staff if the business continues to grow, and believes their focus on quality and locally-sourced produce will set them apart from their competitors.
“Whatever it is you buy, there’s a different quality to it,” Angela added. “When you buy a car, you can get a prestige model with all the whistles and bells on it, or a more basic model.
“It’s the same with food, and people like well made, good quality, locally sourced products, which goes in our favour.
“We’ve selected our suppliers carefully and looked at their quality and their location.
“Everybody was a bit surprised at the type of business we are but they seem to be delighted it’s here.
“It was a nail-biting journey because we started off really optimistically and then we had moments when we thought ‘will people actually come through the door when we open?’ and ‘what will they think of it?’ There are no guarantees.
“But we have faith in our products and people give us lovely complements.”